Notebooks Guide

HP Envy 17 3D review

HP Envy 17 3D-2001xx - Your Personal 3D Movie Machine

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Overall rating 8/10
Full aluminum construction with minimalist design
Excellent screen
Great audio
Graphics engine bottlenecks performance

Benchmarking and Performance

Benchmarking and Performance

With its upper-tier mid-range AMD Radeon HD 6850M graphics engine, the Envy 17 3D isn’t quite good enough to be considered a full-fledged gaming notebook. We consider it more of a hybrid multimedia/gaming notebook. As such, we’ve compared it against both a full gaming notebook, Samsung’s Series 7 700G7A, and a 15.6-inch multimedia notebook, HP’s own Pavilion dv6. All three machines are running Sandy Bridge quad-core i7 processors, and AMD Radeon GPUs.

While the retail Envy 17 3D ships with a 2TB (1TB x 2) HDD and 8GB DDR3 SDRAM, our review unit came equipped with only 6GB RAM and 1.28TB (2 x 640) so your own performance may actually be slightly better. 

Specifications / Notebook HP Envy 17 3D - 2001xx Samsung Series 7 700G7A HP Pavilion dv6-6105tx
Processor Intel Core i7-2820QM
(2.3GHz quad-core)
Intel Core i7-2670QM
(2.2GHz quad-core)
Intel Core i7-2630QM
(2.0GHz quad-core)
Chipset Intel HM67 Intel HM65 Intel HM65
Memory 6GB DDR3 8GB DDR3 4GB DDR3
HDD  1.28TB (2 x 640GB SATA) 1.5TB (2 x 750GB SATA) 750GB SATA
Video AMD Radeon HD 6850M AMD Radeon HD 6970M AMD Radeon HD 6770M


Futuremark PCMark Vantage

The Envy 17 3D managed to beat both of its competitors in the overall PCMark Suite, and also scored well in Memories and Productivity thanks mainly to its faster processor. On the other hand, its gaming score was disappointing, performing far worse than the Series 7 700G7A due to its inferior graphics module.


Futuremark 3DMark06

Our 3DMark06 results showed just how much of a gap there is between the higher end 6970M found in the Samsung Series 7 700G7A and the HP Envy 17 3D's own 6850M, which was easily out-performed, scoring closer in performance to the HP dv6's 6770M. 


Far Cry 2

We ran the Far Cry 2 benchmark test to determine if the Envy 17 3D's faster processor could still produce competitive frame rates, despite its mid-range graphics chip. On Medium settings, at full HD resolution, the HP Envy 17 3D performed well, with very little visual difference between it and the Series 7 700G7A. However, with settings cranked up to Very High, the Envy 17 3D registered noticeably slower frame rates. Gameplay was still acceptable, with frames averaging around 50 for the most part; however scenes with complex foliage combined with lots of explosions saw frame rates drop as low as 34.

Take note that the results for the HP Pavilion dv6 were based off a resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels. This is our default test resolution when the notebook isn't able to support full HD resolution. Having said that, the HP Envy 17 3D is handling a real life gaming application very well for its specifications.



Far Cry 2 - 3D On

With stereoscopic 3D settings turned on, the Envy 17 3D took a hefty hit in performance. Even at Medium settings, we found performance to be noticeably jerky, which spoiled the 3D effect. At Very High settings with 3D on, the game was unplayable, with frame rates dipping as low as 3.

Turning the resolution down to 1024 x 768, we were able to achieve an average frame rate of 45.02 on Medium settings, which did improve performance quite a bit. However, at Very High settings, even at the lower resolution, frame rates again plummeted to an average of 17.88.

Overall, it was clear that the Envy 17 3D is only suitable for moderate gaming purposes. While it has a fast processor, its mid-range AMD Radeon HD 6850M GPU is a bottleneck on performance, causing big drops in frame rate every time we crank it up with higher graphical settings. 3D for gaming seems more like a gimmick than something one can really enjoy (such as 3D movies that it tackled well).